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Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

4 Reasons Why Your Sump Pump May Fail

When you consider the damage that a flooded basement can cause, a sump pump is cheap insurance against the stress and hassle of extensive water damage. Unfortunately, as with any mechanical device, sump pumps eventually fail to work or simply wear out.
 
Here are 5 common reasons your sump pump may fail:

1. Power Failure

Because severe storms are often accompanied by power outages, unless you have a standby battery back-up sump pump, it's not going to work when the power goes out. 

2. Stuck Switches

A mechanical float switch is used to activate the pump when the water in the pit  as the water rises. Testing your sump pump annually will ensure the switch is moving freely. Enclosing the sump pump pit with an cover will also prevent any potential interference with the operation of the pump. 

3. Low Quality Sump Pumps

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

4. Old Pumps

Because they work in a damp environment sump pumps will eventially wear out an become less effective and prone to failure. Because you never know when a pump will fail, have an experienced plumber inspect the unit if you are concerned about the unit's condition or age.


In this month's episode Miatz Home Services explains the benefits of a mini-split cooling systems.



Ductless, mini-split-systems (mini splits) are a good solution for houses without ducted heating systems. They can also be beneficial in room additions where extending ductwork is impractical.

Like standard air-source heat pumps, mini-split systems have two main components : an outdoor compressor and fan and an indoor unit. A conduit, which houses the power cable, refrigerant tubing, suction tubing, and a condensate drain, links the outdoor and indoor units.

The Advantages of Mini-Split Systems

The main advantages of mini splits are their small size and flexibility for cooling individual rooms. Some models can use as many as four indoor air-handling units (for four zones or rooms) connected to one outdoor unit.

Each zone has its own thermostat, so each can cool independently, saving energy.

Because mini splits don't use air ducts, they don't need to power a large blower that a central air conditioner requires to deliver air throughout the house. Duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for space conditioning, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned space such as an attic.

Mini splits also offer more flexibility. The indoor air handlers can be suspended from a ceiling, mounted flush into a drop ceiling, or hung on a wall.  Most indoor units are about seven inches deep and have sleek, high tech-looking jackets. Many also offer a remote control to make it easier to turn the system on and off when it's positioned high on a wall or suspended from a ceiling.



In this episode Dave DeWalt of Maitz Home Service explains how a rooftop solar hot water heater system can save money on heating cost by providing inexpensive water heating.
Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Oil To Gas Conversion Explained

In this episode Maitz Home Services President Dave DeWalt explains the benefits and process of converting an oil heating system to natural gas boiler.

With natural gas costing as much as 50 percent less than heating oil, many homeowners are finding the initial cost of conversion worth the long term savings in fuel cost. Other reasons to consider natural gas over oil include the smaller space required for a gas furnace compared to the oil tank and boiler and federal and state tax incentives available for upgrading to high efficiency heating systems.

The homeowner did not have natural gas service at the home, so a gas line and meter are first installed to provide a connection to the gas utility company.

 


Maitz Home Services President Dave DeWalt explains how geothermal systems operate and how they can reduce your energy cost for home heating, cooling and hot water.


Geothermal Systems Geothermal systems work by exchanging the earth's temperature, which is constant, with the warmer or cooler temperature inside your home. The temperature difference between the earth's temperature and the temperature inside your home is controlled by a geothermal heat pump.

In the winter, the geothermal system takes the earth's warmer temperature of 50-55 degrees and pumps a liquid solution through a heat exchanger
where it is compressed with and then blown as warmer air throughout the home. In the summer, the process is reveresed. The heat pump takes the warmer air in the home and exchanges it with the cooler temeratures in the earth.

Energy Savings From Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Coefficient of Performance (COP) is a measurement of energy efficiency. It equates to the number of kilowatts you use to the number of kilowatts you extract. With a geothermal heat pump a typical COP is 3-4. A COP of three means it it 3 times more efficient than the amount of energy input. In the warmer months this can mean a geothermal system is actually providing hot water with no additional energy requirement.

Geothermal Incentives

The U.S. Department of Energy provides incentives for homeowners to install geothermal systems. For more information visit www.ere.energy.gov





Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Spring Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Spring is a great time to check your home's plumbing systems for problems and to perform preventative maintenance to protect your home against future plumbing malfunctions.

Maitz Home Services offers these plumbing maintenance tips:

Plumbing Fixtures

  • Leaking FaucetCheck faucets for drips or leaks and repair parts as needed to save water
  • Clean mineral deposits from faucets and shower heads by unscrewing them and soaking them in vinegar overnight
  • Cycle water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking

Drains

  • Ensure that all drains have strainers to prevent debris from clogging your drain lines
  • Pour about a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood

Sump Pump

Sump PumpTest your sump pump for proper operation. Pour approximately 5 gallons of water into the basin of your sump pump. Pour slowly until the sump pump turns on and begins to pump out the water. Do not pour in more water than the basin will hold. Expect the sump pump to begin pumping out water when the water level reaches approximately 8 to 12 inches below the surface of the basement floor.

Appliances

Washing Machine
Washing machine hoses should be inspected for leaks or bulges. If the hoses are older than 10 years, they should be replaced. Consider using braided stainless steel hoses rather than rubber hoses.

Toilets
Check your toilets for cracks or leaks. Add several drops of food coloring to the tank. If color appears in the bowl after 30 minutes, it has a leak that should be repaired. If the toilet handle has to be held down in order to flush properly, or jiggled to stop from running, you may need to replace the tank parts.

Water Heater
Water HeaterCheck the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.

If you have a tank-style water heater, drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out sediment that can cause corrosion and reduce heating efficiency. Tankless water heaters should be flushed to remove mineral deposits. Always check with your water heater manufacturer for specific instructions regarding maintenance of your specific make and model.

Ensure there are no flammable materials stored near your water heater or furnace.

Maitz can help with all your home plumbing needs.
From fixing leaking faucets to installing new water heaters, one call fixes it all.

800 282-1505

Appointments

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

The Advantages Of Tankless Water Heaters

The Advantages Of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are a new technology that has revolutionized water heater design. They produce more hot water, at a more consistent temperature, while using less energy than typical tank-style water heaters.

Here are a few of the advantages of tankless water heaters.

1. Save Money On Your Utility Bill

Because tankless water heaters provide hot water only when it’s needed, they can save you up to 40%* on your energy bill. They feature Energy Factors of 0.82 up to 0.96, while tanks are typically 0.60.

2. Endless Hot Water

Tankless hot water heaters do not store a large volume of hot water that can be depleted, but rather heat the water as it’s being used, giving you endless comfort in the form of continuous hot water at a consistent temperature. You can even use hot water for multiple tasks—such as showering, washing dishes or doing laundry—at the same time without worrying about running out.

3. Space Savings

Traditional tank water heaters can take up to 16 square feet of valuable floor space. Tankless water heaters, however, are a fraction of the size and can be installed on virtually any wall, indoors or outdoors.

4. Increased Lifespan

Tankless water heaters have a typical life expectancy of up to 20 years—twice as long as a tank-style unit.

5. Green

Many tankless gas water heaters have earned ENERGY STAR® approval by meeting the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

Because tankless water heaters provide hot water only when it’s needed, they can save you up to 40%* on your energy bill. They feature Energy Factors of 0.82 up to 0.96, while tanks are typically 0.60.

Watch the Tankless Water Heater Video

* As based on the average cost to run an electric tank water heater per the DOE Average

Sunday, 19 March 2017 17:55

Geothermal Ground Loop Techniques

Geothermal Ground Loop Techniques

A geothermal system uses the Earth's thermal properties in conjunction with electricity to provide unprecedented heating and cooling efficiency for your home.

For every unit of electricity the system uses, it provides four units of heating energy, giving a geothermal system a 400% efficiency rating on average. These numbers can translate into significant savings on your utility bills year- round.

Depending on the size and layout of the lot, there are three major geothermal drilling techniques used in ground source heat pump loops.

Vertical Loop Systems

Vertial Loop

A vertical loop field is a common installation method for geothermal heat pump systems on smaller lots. With a vertical loop field installation a series of holes are drilled, each between 50-400 feet deep. Then, piping is fed down these holes and connected in a loop pattern. Once all of the pipes are connected together outside of the home they are threaded into your home and attached to the heat pump.

Horizontal Loop Systems

Horizontal Loop

Horizontal loop field installation is often employed on larger, rural lots. A horizontal loop field requires a great deal of space because a backhoe is used to dig up long trenches a few feet below the frost line in order to lay the necessary amount of piping.

Trenchless Geothermal Loop Systems

With horizontal trenchless technology a hole is bored horizontally to allow the piping to be passed underground. This method is often used when surface landscape conditions make digging a trench difficult or impractical.

Watch The Geothermal Ground Loop Techniques Video

With the start of a new year it's a great time to begin planning on how to save energy throughout your home. Here are a few tips and suggestions to save energy dollars year round.

Heating & Cooling

If you're planning on replacing your older air conditioner or furnace, consider purchasing a high efficiency model with an ENERGYSTAR™ rating. ENERGY STAR™ is a government-backed program designed to help consumers save money and protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. The ENERGYSTAR™ label will tell you how much energy you can expect the model to use annually.
  • Insulate ceilings to R-38 levels if your attic has less than R-19      
  • Caulk around windows, doors and anywhere air is leaking in or out
  • Apply weather striping around windows and doors
  • Wrap heating and cooling ducts with duct wrap
  • Set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower, and the air-conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, if your comfortable. 3 percent to 5 percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68 degrees and for each degree the air conditioner is set below 78 degrees
  • Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly, following manufacturer's instructions
  • Replace old windows with new high performance multi-pane windows  
  • Install shades, awnings or sunscreens on windows facing south and/or west to block summer light. In winter, open shades on sunny days to help warm rooms
  • Close the damper when the fireplace is not being used. Try not to use the fireplace and central heating system at the same time

Water Heating

  • Set the water heater thermostat at 140 degrees or "normal." if you have a dishwasher. Otherwise, set it at 120 degrees or "low."
  • Use a water heater blanket
  • Install energy-saver showerheads
  • Wash your laundry using a cold water detergent
  • Fix defective plumbing or dripping faucets. A single dripping hot water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. That not only increases water bills, but also increases the gas or electric bill for heating the water
  • Wash only full loads in a dishwasher and use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean. If operating instructions allow, turn off the dishwasher before the drying cycle, open the door and let the dishes dry naturally

Extend the Life and Performance Of Your Water Heater With Regular Maintenance

Tank-Style Water Heater Maintenance

A conventional tank-style water heater will typically last for 8-10 years. However, without routine maintenance sediment and rust can accumulate, shortening the life of the water heater while also wasting energy. To keep your water heater in good condition for the long run, Maitz Home Services recommends following these water heater maintenance steps at least once a year.
  • Drain out the water heater tank to remove sediment. This is particularly important if you have hard water in your home. Attach a hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Before opening the drain valve  ensure the opposite end of the hose is outside or near a floor drain. Be careful, as the water may be very hot. If you're not sure how to flush your water heater, call Maitz Home Services. An experienced plumber can advise you on the best way to drain your water heater tank.
  • Check for water leaks, pinholes rusting around the exterior of the water heater.
  • For natural gas water heaters, inspect the flue to ensure exhaust fumes are venting outside by striking a match next to the flue housing. The smoke should drift out through the exhaust flue.
  • Test the relief valve by putting a bucket beneath the drain pipe and opening the valve. Water should flow freely when the valve is opened.
  • Ensure that the thermostat is set to between 120 and 125 degrees. It should not be set above 125 degrees. We recommend keeping your water heater below 115 degrees  if you have have young children.
  • Keeping a pan underneath the water heater will make it easier to detect any leaks.
  • If you have a gas water heater, check the pilot light to make sure it is burning blue and steady.

Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

Tankless water heaters are becoming a popular choice for homeowners looking for a more efficient alternative to traditional water heaters. Because water is only heated when it's needed, it uses much less energy. And with no storage tank, it never runs out of hot water as long as the unit it the proper size for the home's hot water needs.

Like traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters require regular maintenance to ensure that they last as long as possible. Spending some time on maintenance yourself, or calling Maitz Home Services for routine maintenance, will ensure that you are taking advantage of all the cost saving benefits available from your tankless water heater. In addition, most manufacturers require this maintenance as a condition of the unit's warranty.

1. Inspect and Clean the Screen Filter

Following the manufacturer's recommended schedule and procedures, inspect and clean the filter located on the water inlet side the tankless water heater. We recommend having a qualified plumber do this job. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, it's important to learn the proper procedure before attempting this maintenance. Do not use chemicals to clean your tankless water heater, since they will enter your drinking water. Vinegar is a safe, effective cleaner.

2. Flush the System

To prevent the a harmful buildup of lime and scale, flush your tankless water heater periodically according to the manufacturer's recommendations. As noted above, please be sure to flush it with vinegar and not chemicals that could contaminate your water supply.
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